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Royals Offseason Targets: The Dreamboats

Categorizing players who the Royals likely don't have a shot at acquiring for anything near a reasonable price.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

If you visit the popular real estate website Zillow, there's a filter you can applying while browsing homes labeled as "make me move." This is not only a strong definitive statement the owner is saying, but also a strange request. Essentially, he's asking you to give him so much money for his home that he can't say no. In this article, we'll loosely apply those same concepts to players the Royals can target as those homeowners are wanting. That means the listed players don't offer a large amount of liquidity and their owning clubs aren't in any desperate position that they need to trade the players. The listed players generally need to have at least 5 years of team control and offer considerable upside. Also, the player cannot currently be an integral part of the teams roster (say like Starling Marte) nor can he currently be one of the best players in baseball (say like Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig).

Mookie Betts - Red Sox 2B/OF

In the last article we mentioned Yankees prospect Rob Refsnyder, a helium prospect who put himself on the map this past year. Much like Refsnyder, Betts saw his prospectdom explode after his 2013 season. His Mookness went from unranked prior to 2013 to ranked the 75th best prospect by Baseball America before the 2014 season.

As far as ready to play MLB prospects, Betts may be the crown jewel. Recently Dave Cameron has strongly attested against the Red Sox trading him and that the Red Sox might even regret trading Betts straight up for Chris Sale or Stephen Strasburg. One should note that those two pitchers are currently two of the best pitchers in baseball. That's perhaps how highly Cameron ranks Betts and more exactly his future potential.

Steamer projects Betts to be worth 2.6 wins next year and produce a 20% better than league average offensive line. If Betts were to receive 600 plate appearances, Steamer believes he could be worth nearly 4 wins.

On Monday, the Red Sox signed two big named free agents Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to intermediate term contracts. That has now shrunk two spots in the Red Sox lineup. While Sandoval will play third, Ramirez is likely to be relegated to the outfield. In that scenario, the Red Sox outfield will have Yoenis Cespedes, Mookie Betts, Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, Brock Holt, and Jackie Bradley Jr all vying for just 3 spots. If that group were to hold, Cespedes, Ramirez, and Victorino would all undoubtedly win those spots. In that scenario, Betts would be much more available than he is now.

George Springer - Astros OF

Springer has been a big prospect since the day he was drafted, consistently ranking in the top 50 realm of all prospects. There's a lot to love and hate with Springer.

The first thing you probably know about him is power. Springer just hit 20 home runs 80 games this past season. In 2013 he nearly hit 40 homeruns across two levels. The other major aspect of his game is his speed. Let's clarify that he isn't Billy Hamilton level speed, but he has at least above average speed on the basepaths and stole 45 bases in 2013 (yes the same season he almost hit 40 homeruns). When not at the plate, Springer brings a plus glove/range and above average arm strength in the outfield. That's some stuff to love, or at least like.

The stuff to hate with Springer, or at least dislike, is his ultra-aggressive approach at the plate and low-contact skills. Almost every level he's played at Spring has had a higher than MLB average strikeout rate, including some seasons with a greater than 25K%. The poor hit tool is likely to play down the game power some and deflate his average. There won't be many seasons with a greater than .250 batting average (since 2010 only 5 players have a .250+ average with a 25% or greater K%).

2015 Steamer projection:

138 611 28 17 10.6% 28.5% .238/.328/.444 119 -1.6 2.6

Noah Syndergaard - Mets SP

I think this is the first pitcher I've covered in this series and there are more to come eventually. The Mets are deep at pitching which makes Syndergaard at least slightly available, though he's probably second or third on the Mets "starters we won't trade away" list with Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom.

Syndergaard is about as MLB ready as you can get for a pitching prospect. He's pitched a full season in AAA and has reach physical maturity. He's the owner of a 70-75 grade fastball that I think you could make an argument as being an 80 grade one. It touches 100MPH, sits at 95 consistently, has big arm side run and Syndergaard can put some cut on it too if he wants. His other primary offering is a deep curveball that has seen a 70 grade thrown on it.

Physically Syndergaard has the size and strength to throw deep into a season and the athleticism to repeat his extremely loose delivery.

There's good reason to believe that Syndergaard has all the accoutrements to have the ceiling of a #1 pitcher and a floor of a #3 (outside of TINSTAAPP of course). He also carries the maximum amount of team control as he has yet to make his MLB debut, while he is also on the Mets 40-man roster for the first time last week.

What would you trade for him? A package of Alex Gordon and others? That would leave the Royals in need of another outfielder of course, but they'll face such a dilemma soon anyways when Gordon becomes free agency eligible in two years (or possibly next year if the Royals decline his option).

While you ponder Syndergaard's trade value in relation to Royals players, here's a GIF of his curveball.

Dylan Bundy - Orioles SP

I'll never be able to quit Bundy. Many in KC were dead set that the Royals were going to select him in 2011 draft (the draft the Royals selected Bubba Starling in), but the Orioles sprung him one pick prior.

Bundy obliterated the minors his first full season and eventually had the briefest of appearances in the Orioles bullpen in September. Sadly the next spring, 2013, Bundy felt soreness in his elbow. He received treatment and rest then after resuming throwing he felt the soreness again, with the ultimate prognosis being Tommy John surgery.

Bundy isn't quite MLB ready (at least in comparison to where he was in late 2012) for early 2015, but  a mid-season callup for him isn't out of the picture.

When he's at full strength, Bundy brings an elite level FB/cutter (something the Orioles took away from him to force him to use other offerings), an extremely deep 12-6 curveball, and an average changeup.

Post-TJ Bundy hasn't had his velocity return fully yet (what generally comes first for TJ pitchers), but the pre-TJ command is there.

Side note: Are there factors now that make the 2011 draft more tolerable? #2 overall Danny Hultzen is oft injured and just had shoulder surgery. #3 overall Trevor Bauer has continued to have command issues and might be moved to the bullpen eventually. #4 Dylan Bundy has made his MLB debut but has since had Tommy John surgery as well as other injuries. The Royals were rumored to select one of whichever of these guys before all three were taken. Does this slightly take the sting off of the selection of Starling? Don't forget to weigh his record signing bonus as well. Of course though, Anthony Rendon, who was selected one pick later, is a potential star in the making.

Gary Sanchez- Yankees C/1B

It seems like Sanchez has been on the prospect radar for years and he has. Signed for $3M at the age of 16, Sanchez debuted stateside at 17 and hit extremely well, especially for a 17 year old in the Gulf Coast (Rookie) and NY Penn League (Short Season A). Since his debut, he's done nothing but hit at each level. The main concern with him is his plate discipline which is rooted by his aggressive approach and some slight selling out for power at times.

Age Level G PA wRC+
17 Rookie 31 136 188
17 A- 16 59 113
18 A 82 343 122
19 A 68 289 136
19 A+ 48 185 117
20 A+ 94 399 108
20 AA 23 110 113
21 AA 110 477 108

As good as the bat may ultimately be, there's things that we talk about when we talk about Sanchez. First, he's not going to be a catcher on any full time basis. Blocking, footwork, framing, you name it, Sanchez doesn't do it well. The one defensive positive is his very strong arm, the only thing that may still be keeping him there for now. Secondly, he's been disciplined multiple times and scouts have questions about his work ethic and makeup. He's been both demoted and forced to sit out series of games. This may not effect his on the field ability, but it's certainly not a positive thing.

Sanchez provides 60 grade raw and in game power with plus bat speed and a slight loft to his swing. When he makes contact it is consistently hard contact and drives the ball to all areas of the field.

Sanchez will start next season at AAA and will likely get a look in Spring Training. As of now he's blocked behind the plate in the major leagues with Brian McCann. The move from catcher to first base or DH severely drops his value and extremely changes the needed output of his bat. Sanchez could spell Sal Perez a few times a week, but any thoughts of him playing anywhere other than 1B/DH are dreams instead of reality. Sanchez's arm would play well in the outfield, but he has absolutely no speed to offer as he's consistently clocked over 4.5 seconds from home to first.

Joc Pederson - Dodgers OF

Many gallons of digital ink have been spilt about Dodgers outfielder and prime prospect Joc Pederson, including some on these digital pages. The Dodgers surely have a surplus of outfield talent in different varieties and aren't expected to carry every current outfielder heading into next season. I'm going to take a moment to discuss him as he bears mentioning given the criteria of this article.

I do like Pederson as prospect and future MLB player, but I question the ultimate role. I think he'll carve out a 10+ year career as an average outfielder who may occasionally put together a 3-win seasons or two in his peak years, but ultimately, and at least in the immediate future, I don't think he's someone the Royals should rely upon to give 500 plate appearances to this season. The tools are average across the board with him. That's a nice profile, truly, and a consistent 2-win player is a fantastic asset to have at league minimum. It's just that Pederson isn't a 2-win player right now and I don't think he'll be for another year or two. Betts, Syndergaard, and Springer all bring two or more fantastic tools to the plate right now, meanwhile Pederson doesn't really even bring one. His AAA park is one of the best hitting parks in the minors (where he posted a .385 BABIP) and he played in the PCL. There are also concerns about his ability to hit left handed pitchers as in 2013 he had an extreme reverse platoon split which carried over at times in 2014.

Don't let this say that I don't want Joc Pederson. I do want Joc Pederson. I think he's got the potential talent to be a 50-55 OFP player for several years, but I don't want to rely upon him on a full time basis next year.

Wil Myers - Rays OF

LOL. Okay. Sorry.